‘Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.’ Colossians 2:20-22 (NIV).
Human commands and teachings are the basic principles of this world that have no effect in bringing us close to God. These include observing religious rules, acting out of duty, practicing pious self-denial or making a show of holiness. The basic principles of this world focus on human effort, but Christianity focuses on Christ’s work. Our salvation does not depend on our own discipline and rule-keeping, but on the power of Christ’s death and resurrection.
We can inform ourselves to guard against man-made religions by asking a few pertinent questions. Is God’s grace the focus or is there emphasis on man-made rules and restrictions? Is there perceived control through a list of ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’?
Is there a stress on formulas, secret knowledge or special visions more than the Word of God? Is there a critical spirit towards others, or does the Spirit of God move freely with love, kindness and grace? Is humiliation of the body taught as a means to spiritual growth or rather is there a stronger focus on growth of the whole person?
Is Christ the center of all things? These are just some of the questions we ought to be asking as discerning followers of Christ in a culture that determines who and what a Christian is in regards to the basic principles of this world.
‘Heavenly Father, forgive me for being drawn by the rules and restrictions of the religious world. Only intimacy with you is what counts. Help me to know you Lord. To believe deeper in Christ and His work on the cross for me. In you alone I find salvation. Thank you.’
In Jesus’ Mighty Name,
The discipline and legalism that the false teachers demanded of the Colossians appeared good and godly. The basic principles of the world still attract many people today. Our churches are filled with those who relish in religion rather than relationship with Christ.
It is easy. It is quick and it is convenient. But it is wrong. Like all human commands and teachings, they are volatile and will soon pass. And they never guarantee our salvation. Only Christ can do that.
Be Greatly Blessed!